09.03.2020

4. SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

How does intensified use of wood in construction impact the ability to produce biofuels from the forests?

Forest-based biofuels are touted by many as a “promising solution” in providing renewable energy in heat, transport and electricity, one of the primary aims of SDG 7. We posed some hypotheses to examine how wood in construction could enhance or reduce the ability to produce forest-based biofuels.

Hypothesis One

Intensified use of wood for construction in the Nordics may limit the possibility to generate forest-based first generation biofuels under a sustainable forest management scheme.

 

Whilst the results are spread on hypothesis one, the survey respondents disagreed overall, with 55% disagree compared to only 13% agreeing. We can assess therefore that intensified use of wood in construction should not limit the production first generation biofuels.

The view amongst the respondents was that the volume and type of wood products used for construction would not compete with first generation biofuel production. In fact, it was generally the view that it would provide a boost to the forestry section that would lead to better utilisation of all forest resources. The lack of direct competition was summarised by this interviewee:

“Using wood as a structural material before fuel purposes is good. There are other biomass resources that are much better for production of biofuels.” 

 

Hypothesis Two

Intensified use of wood for construction in the Nordics may result in increased by-products at different stages of the value chain that may be used as second generation biofuels.

 

With 80% of the survey respondents agreed with the second hypothesis, indicating that intensified use of wood in construction will generate increased by-products across the value chain for use as second generation biofuels

The experts suggested that opportunities lay equally across every stage of the supply chain. As one respondent put it:

“The guiding principle should be to maximize the value of everything we decide to harvest.”

→ Read on to SDG 8 →

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The Nordic Wood in Construction Secretariat is hosted by EIT Climate-KIC

The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.